Personal Finance 
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How To Organize Electronic Financial Documents

Document Storage!It’s always tricky remembering how long I should keep financial documents so recently I began cheating by electronically scanning all my documents to my hard drive. I was able to save all the documents I really didn’t need, but was apprehensive about shredding forever, and created electronic backups for the documents I knew I should keep. It was the best of both worlds.

The end result, though, was a collection of poorly organized files. To help me create a system, I began reading online. When the NY Times Bucks blog talked to Alicia Rockmore, co-founder of Buttoned Up, she recommended a year-based file system.

“Have one file for everything that is tax- or finance-related per year,” she said. Then, download electronic records available online to the files and scan in paper copies of other documents as well.


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 Personal Finance 
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How Long Should I Keep Financial Documents?

Document Storage!We recently purchased a sheet-fed scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300, to help organize our financial records and this purchase is easily one of the top ten I’ve made in my adult life. We went from having a few banker’s boxes of documents down to just a few in about a week. Using a sheet-fed scanner, versus a flat-bed scanner like a copier, can save you a ridiculous amount of time and the ScanSnap will save your document into a PDF. It’s a big pricey but definitely worth it if you’re looking to save things electronically.

One of the benefits of storing documents electronically is that it makes the “how long should I keep financial documents?” question a bit obsolete. Data storage is cheap so you can save documents forever, but I think it’s still important to know how long to keep documents because it gives you a better understanding of finances. Knowing why you should keep tax records for seven years gives you a better understanding of the tax process.

So how long should you keep financial documents? It depends.

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 Personal Finance 
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BVC #13: Financial Snatchfile [VIDEO]

I talked about how long we were keeping financial documents in the last Bargaineering VideoCast and in it I alluded to this video, which I recorded immediately afterwards. This video is about our financial snatchfile, a red accordion file folder that contains all of our important documents. The video didn’t do a good job of showing the accordion file folder itself so I wanted to take a photograph, which are included after the video.



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